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Jesus building solid Sporting Lisbon side after Ruiz capture

After a sensational switch from Benfica to Sporting Lisbon, new Lions boss Jorge Jesus has made former Fulham frontman and Costa Rica international Bryan Ruiz his first major signing, with the 29-year-old agreeing a three-year deal in Portugal.

Following successful back-to-back Primeira Liga titles with Benfica, Jesus sensationally switched Lisbon loyalties to Sporting, who finished third last season. Though, the new manager has been quick to bolster his ranks with the high-profile acquisition of former Championship forward Ruiz.

The Costa Rica international skipper will lead his nation out at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA and Canada, as they aim to beat favourites Mexico and host nation Stars and Stripes to the coveted crown (odds-on 8/11 to win Group B).

Incredibly, after signing for the Lisbon Lions, a £43m buy-out clause was included in his three-year contract. The experienced forward netted 13 times in 106 games for the Cottagers, having joined in 2011 for £10.6m, with the London club also taking up an option in May to extend his contract for another year, which then allowed them to obtain a fee for his services.

Ruiz featured 32 times for the Championship club last term and also saw a loan move to La Liga outfit Levante fall through in the Winter transfer window, though Sporting boss Jesus will hope to get the best out of this talented Costa Rica captain.

Next season, Jesus will undoubtedly cause massive friction in the country (Portugal are 25/1 to win Euro 2016), but has arrived at a club which he holds personal connections to, with his father having played for Sporting in the 1940s.

Ruiz’s arrival at the Estadio Jose Alvalade is a step in the right direction for Jesus, who hopes to guide the Lions out of their recent domestic decline. In the last decade, the club have suffered a lack of success, winning just one league title since 2000, though former coach Marco Silva did secure their first trophy in seven years before departing for Olympiacos, with a Portuguese Cup coup.

As well adding the talents of Ruiz to his ranks, highly-driven Jesus has also stated that sought-after Portugal Under-21 midfield maestro William Carvalho will remain at the club.

“William has great value. He will grow here together with the team,” stated Jesus. “He is a footballer who has the characteristics to play more. I have no doubt he will do it with me.”

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Portugal Training Camp - Praia d'El

The 23-year-old made 30 league appearances for the Lions last term and has a further three years remaining on his current contract, though Sporting have been adamant that if they do sell, potential suitors must meet his €35m buy-out clause.

With Ruiz arriving and Carvalho’s services possibly being retained, Jesus will hope he can continue to build a Sporting squad capable of dethroning his former club Benfica at the summit of Portugal’s top-flight.